Activists say Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa

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Russian Federation is allied with the Baath regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in an effort to crush the Sunni radicals of the Syrian Conquest Front (SCF) in Syria’s northwest, which has been linked to Al Qaeda (it was formerly the Nusra Front). Syrian Kurdish forces, also known as the YPG, are fighting under the umbrella of the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, alongside Syrian Arab forces.

In April 2017, US President Donald Trump termed the massacre of Armenians in 1915 “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century”. Note that Tillerson visited Turkey in late March and McMasters (and reportedly Trump) received Turkey’s Chief of the General Staff, Intel Chief, and senior Presidential advisor/spokesperson last week – certainly the increased support for the YPG was previewed with them.

Past administrations have sought a delicate balance.

Asked if Turkey would continue to bomb the YPG in Syria if the group is armed by the U.S., Yildirim was succinct. Too little cooperation with the Kurds risks squandering a battlefield ally with proven effectiveness against extremist threats and who has staunchly supported Washington. “The defense secretary on numerous occasions made very, very clear, an unequivocal commitment that they would never allow those weapons to be turned against Turkey”, the newspaper cited Yildirim as saying.

The Syrian Democratic Forces earlier this week captured Tabqa and an adjacent dam, a major prize in the offensive for Raqqa, the Syrian heart of Daesh’s self-proclaimed rule.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it has received light weaponry from the United States, not heavy ones as circulated by some media outlets. Turkey has long regarded the YPG as a terrorist force linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a separatist group that Ankara has clashed with for decades.

Ernst, a veteran of the Iraq war, has long argued the USA should arm Kurdish fighters known as the Peshmerga in Iraq. Moreover, the expert is sure that at the moment the Kurds in Syria, unlike the Peshmerga in Iraq, do not plan any hostilities or subversive activity against Turkey.

Erdogan was speaking during a visit to China, ahead of his trip to Washington for his first meeting with Trump. It insists the U.S.is laying a unsafe bedrock for future instability in the region, essentially fighting terrorists with terrorists. As a result, experts see Erdogan using the meeting to confront Trump on a host of other Turkish grievances.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag voiced disappointment about what Turkey sees as the USA reluctance to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric accused by Erdogan of being the mastermind of last year’s coup attempt.

“On the question of membership, we need the European Union to define its vision: to tell us how they see the future”, said Mr Yildirim.

Part of this fallback position could be a recognition that U.S. patience with Erdogan might also be running thin, too.

In a similar way, the USA disappoints Turkish expectations in not responding positively to Turkey’s request for the extradition of Sufi Muslim religious leader Fethullah Gulen, who they assert directed the coup attempt from his self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, PA.

So much is at stake: The U.S. can not afford to alienate a Turkish government that remains crucial in the ongoing battle against Islamist militancy. His willingness to partner with authoritarian rulers and overlook their shortcomings on democracy and human rights have alarmed US lawmakers of both parties.

Muslim said that they have have given guarantees to the Americans that the weapons do not end up in PKK hands. It appears as though Erdogan might have wanted to test Trump to see if he’d back away from the YPG, and didn’t get the answer he hoped.

Now, the American leader may try to cash in.

“The retaking of Mosul and Raqqa is an global security priority”, the French government said.

Ties became poisoned in the last months of the Barack Obama administration by venomous disputes over United States support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and the presence in the U.S. of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen whom Erdogan blames for last year’s July 15 failed coup. Later, Turkey’s air attacks on Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish militia positions were declared illegitimate. The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear.

“Instead, we say [to Turkey’s allies] it would be rational to cooperate with Turkey, which is the only regional country with economic and political stability”, he added.

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“We will say we are allies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation from the very beginning, so we are strategic partners”.

Activists say Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa

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